Monday, August 13, 2012

A Foot In The Door

They don't make kickers like they used to.

This week, The HOYA noted that a tryout will be held at month's end because, with one kicker on the roster with no in-game experience, the Hoyas enter 2012 mighty thin at kicker. Never mind that they'll have two kickers on the roster with no in-game experience, they need depth, now more than ever.

The notice:

The Georgetown University football team will be holding open tryouts for placekickers on Thursday, August 30 beginning at 4 p.m. Tryouts will be held at Multi-Sport Field, as the Hoyas coaching staff is looking to add depth at the position.

Those interested in participating in the open tryout should contact Georgetown Director of Football Operations Justin Brown by calling 202-687-6700

Such was not always the case.

Kickers were not as disposable back in the day, pro or college.

From 1968 through 1986, the Dallas Cowboys had only four placekickers in 19 seasons--Mike Clark, Toni Fritsch, Efren Herrera, Rafael Septien. In the next 25 seasons, they've gone through 21 more. During that same era, the Washington Redskins had just two kickers--Curt Knight and Mark Moseley. Since  then, a parade of names from Max Zendejas to Graham Gano...22 in all.

So it is with the Hoyas. The 1980's and 1990's had their run of veteran kickers: Jim Corcoran, Erich Beringer, Tom Timperman, Anthony DeGuzman.

But in the last 15 years, just two kickers have finished their careers as four year players, and only one played in all four seasons. It's become a position where recruits don't last very long and the Hoyas are often looking to walk-ons and transfers to fill the gap.

Let's go back to 1997, where the Hoyas added arguably one of its best kicking prospects ever, St. Francis Prep's Peter Carbonara. As a freshman, Carbornara was named all-conference after just one season, but left Georgetown and ended up enrolling at New Hampshire, kicking for the Wildcats before he was dismissed by UNH in the off-season. Carbonara was replaced by Paul Wiorowski, who kicked for two seasons before graduating. In the Patriot League era, however, kickers have come (and mostly) gone:

  • 2000: The Hoyas turned to a second year law student, Marc Samuel, who kicked for two seasons. Samuel was no rookie, having kicked for two seasons at Kentucky, but classes still took precedent over football.
  • 2001: Bryan Bobo, a regional All-County selection from Palm Beach, joins the roster. Unable to move up the depth chart, he plays only two seasons.
  • 2002: Michael Gillman, recruited by (but did not play for) Florida, joins the team. Though his stats were up and down (18-35 field goals over a three year career), he was the Hoyas' best option at the position. A walk-on, Anthony Soric, joined the team but does not see action.
  • 2004: Eric Bjonerud's four seasons (2004,05,06,07) finally provided stability in the position. 41 of 44 in PAT's, 13 of 20 field goals (though only one longer than 34 yards), he also punted for parts of two seasons. Reserve kicker David Corak made it one season with limited play. 
  • 2007: The PK kicker position was a point of emphasis in Kevin Kelly's first recruiting cycle Georgetown brings in two of the best local kickers to succeed Bjonerud, but neither made the grade. Kilgo Livingston, an all-WCAC kicker at DeMatha, played in one game as a special teams player and left the team. Casey Dobyns, a two year all-MIAA kicker at Georgetown Prep (also known for his summer internship as a European fashion model), played sparingly and transferred to Richmond in 2009. In their place, the Hoyas reached out to the soccer team in Jose-Pablo Buerba, who had not played American football before joining the team. 
  • 2009: Georgetown adds two kickers in Kris Zabioleff and David Conway. Zabioleff lasts one year, does not start. Conway was on the bench for three seasons.
  • 2010: With Buerba graduating, Georgetown finds a replacement in Brett Weiss, a  lacrosse player who transferred from Maryland. Weiss turns in some of the best  numbers since Marc Samuel over the past two seasons, earning second team all-Patriot League.
  • 2012: Junior Devon Papendrew is the lone kicker on the roster after Weiss and Conway graduated.
Is there a Marc Samuel or a Brett Weiss out there among the student body? Is there someone from another team interested in a two-sport commitment (e.g., can Jabril Trawick kick a consistent 40 yard field goal)? Or is there someone from the team itself that can step up? Two of the greatest Georgetown kickers of all time held other positions on the team--Augie Lio (1938-40), an offensive lineman, blocked (and kicked) his way into the College Football Hall of Fame, while Jim Corcoran (1978-81) was a safety who who could punt and kick with the best of them. 

The best case scenario is that Papendrew can take over and give the Hoyas two strong years in the position. Recruiting for the four year kicker, however, remains as elusive as ever.